Google Receives Patent for their Driverless Car Technology

December 16, 2011

Photo from Gadget Review

Google has been experimenting with driverless cars for a number of years, and, after applying for a patent in May of this year, they received word that their patent for driverless car technology was approved. The patent includes a plan for mixed-mode autonomous driving – a driving method in which the car takes full control after passing a reference indicator, while a human is still in the driver’s seat.

The self-driving car was talked about at a TED conference back in March by Sebastian Thrun. The car involves two sets of sensors: one which identifies a “landing strip” where the vehicle stops, the other which receives data about precisely where it is and where it should go. The driverless car could get directions or driving instructions from a URL, QR code or radio link.

“The search firm suggests the technology could be used to offer tours of tourist locations or to send faulty models to repair shops.Google has funded a lot of this work at universities. Not surprisingly, if they think it is going to be big they want to patent it.” (from BBC News)

For more on this patent, visit BBC News. You can also view the TED talk from earlier this year below.

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